When we think about the question of “Is there a God?”, I guess we mostly think of arguments for and against. How did the universe get here if it wasn’t created? Does the suffering in the world prove there is no God? But there is another way to look at it.
Tell me a story
The two main worldviews competing for our allegiance, in the English-speaking world at least, are christianity and atheism. Each of them tell a story of what is real and what is not. One way to evaluate them is to listen to the stories and see which seems to best describe the world we experience.
If there’s no God ….
- the universe has evolved out of nothing, with no cause we can imagine;
- life originated by chance, and we have evolved by natural selection to suit the conditions on earth;
- believing in a god is a delusion, though one that helped us as we evolved;
- there is no “bigger purpose” or meaning in life;
- there is no objective standard of morality – ethics can only be justified pragmatically, based on what we choose, or what society feels is most likely to preserve itself;
- our freedom to choose is illusory, for our thoughts and actions are controlled by our genes, our circumstances and our brain chemistry;
- we can decide to ‘think positive’, behave well and leave the world a better place (humanism), or have as much fun as we can (hedonism), or get depressed (nihilism) – it makes no difference in the end, although it can make a lot of difference here and now.
If the christian God exists ….
- behind evolution there is a supreme being, who created the universe and set it up so that human life was formed;
- God makes himself known through his creation, through our inner sense of right and wrong, through a sense that there is more to life than what science tells us, and in a unique way in Jesus of Nazareth;
- people really matter because, as rational, ethical, autonomous, relational beings, we are made in the image of God;
- freedom, truth, right and wrong are all found in God;
- our purpose is found in God, who is calling us to be part of his movement to change the world into a better place.
- this story requires faith, however it is not faith out of nothing, but faith in something and for good reason;
- we can choose whether we want to be part of this world and allow God to work in us to make us who we ought to be.
Choose your own adventure
I have tried to present those two summaries as fairly as I can. They are spelled out in a little more detail in Two Stories, where I also suggest some questions you might like to ask to assist you in choosing.